Bo and I arrived home safely on Monday. Vanessa and Taylor had a bit more adventures return trip home. Their flight out of Nairobi was delayed until 3am. So when they finally flew into Doha, Qatar they could not catch their originally scheduled flight to Dallas. But the airlines comped them a hotel room and meals, so they turned it into an adventure and went dune bashing and camel riding in the Doha desert. Not a bad way to end their trip. They stayed the night in Qatar and caught their flight a day later and arrived safely in Texas yesterday.
I received great news today from Esther. She took all the children in their home to the hospital yesterday to be tested for HIV. I did not realize, but Esther was quite concerned about some of them. The government center had not tested the children before giving them to Esther. With many of the children we know nothing about their parents. But we do know that one of the newer kids has a parent that was HIV positive. Esther prayed and fasted before taking the kids in for testing. So either the Lord protected these kids or He healed some of them through Esther’s prayers. Either way we are thankful that they will not be faced with this challenge in addition to everything else they have dealt with in their young lives. Thank you to those who have been praying for these little ones.
Bo and I are at the airport awaiting our flight from Nairobi back to the US. The girls will head out a little later tonight. Plans changed the last few days in Machakos, as they always seem to do. The chairmanthat oversees the public space where Onesmus planned his crusade reneged on his commitment to give Onesmus the space this weekend. We had to cancel the crusade. Onesmus was devastated. I don’t know if I have ever seen him so disappointed. But the Lord is always one step ahead of us. Friday afternoon, about the time they would have started the crusade, a rain storm blew in and brought rain for the rest of the evening. It would have been a disaster – damaging equipment and scattering everyone to find shelter. God had other plans.
Vanessa and Taylor felt a burden for the girls at Sha’s school, so we arranged for them to go up on Friday. They shared with all of the girls that afternoon and had a really powerful time. Many girls responded in prayer and tears which, for high school girls listening to unknown westerners, is rare. Sha’ said the very next morning she walked by a group of kids who were having early morning prayer in class and heard all of them weeping and crying out to God in intercession. It seems something changed. Taylor and Vanessa spent the rest of the evening with Sha’, which I know was really important and encouraging for her.
Friday Bo and I had time meeting with Onesmus. We received architectural plans for a new temporary structure to put on their current property. They have a good amount of space on their compound and the landlord will allow them to stay for 4 more years. Rather than wait for the resources, legality/lands issues, etc, it seems the Lord is leading us to do more and as much as we can right now while we work things out on the land. The first thing we need is more space for the current children. So we are praying and making plans for a 3 room place to be completed before the end of the year. Because Emily (Children’s Department) is really trusting and looking to Esther, the extra space will probably mean more children. But after seeing the Government Rescue center and hearing more of the stories, I don’t know how we can say no. Please pray for God to lead us in all of these decisions. There seems to be a endless number of needs. But seeing the growth and healing taking place in the children at O and E’s home gives hope and encouragement to keep going.
Saturday the girls spent the day playing with the children. Bo and I met with James to discuss his business that we helped him to start in Kibunga. It has been about 7 months and he is turning a profit of about $100 per month. Being profitable in the first year for any business is difficult, so we were encouraged. Kibunga is suffering a major drought, which has also made doing business there a challenge. We are praying for the Lord to bring rain and water to Kibunga and for James to reach a point soon where his business can care for all of his family’s needs. Esther and I also spent time talking about the future and updates on many of the children in the program. I hope to share more about that in the coming weeks. Thanks to everyone for their prayers. We are all really encouraged heading home from this trip.
The highlight of this trip for me thus far has been the noticeable change in the children. We have seen their personalities come to life. Mercy, who has normally been stoic and reserved, is now excited to jump in and play. We have discovered that William is the trouble maker of the group, but he has become comfortable enough to allow that personality to come out. Emmanuelle (Muoo) is much less defensive and aggressive towards the other kids. You can see he is feeling so much more secure since his first day last week. He is also a great dancer. He joined the dance team at the church and jumped right in the first week (Click here to watch IMG_2866). When the children first came, Dorcas was the most behind developmentally – physically, emotionally, and mentally. She was very sick (bloated belly, worms, sores on her body). She had a harder time playing and participating with the other kids and was having a hard time in school. She is now healthy, her coordination has improved, and she’s much more confident to play. She is also doing well in school.
Taylor and Vanessa have played with the kids nearly every day from late afternoon until evening. They have organized boys vs girls soccer matches, taught the kids jump rope, and played frisbee and hacky sack. We have prayed for God to do a work of inner healing and restoration of innocence and we have seen God begin to answer those prayers through joy and playfulness. This is the most joy and freedom I have seen from the children on any trip. I have loved every opportunity to join in on the soccer games and jump rope. Usually around 7PM Momma Esther walks out, says a few words, and the kids quit playing and start running to clean up, eat, and do their homework.
We introduced guacamole to the family a few nights ago, so now the kids and the family are hooked. It has become a staple for our meals together. It’s such a joy to see the kids and the family feel more comfortable with us. Less and less we feel like guests and more and more like family.
Yesterday Taylor and Vanessa led another women’s meeting. They continued to share on forgiveness. Many of the women responded in repentance and tears, allowing the Lord to deliver them and heal past wounds. These girls have done an amazing job on this trip, ministering not just to the people in the church meetings but everywhere they go. Tonight they are at Sha’s school meeting with the girls there.
Tomorrow is another busy day, our last full day here before flying out on Sunday. I’ll try to send out another update before we take off. Thank you so much for your prayers. We have really felt God’s grace on this trip in a unique way.
I’m so grateful to everyone who has been praying and I’m sorry for doing a poor job of keeping folks updated. This has been such a busy and constantly evolving trip. Poor wifi has not helped either.
Thursday we went to meet with the grandmothers. As always, they were full of joy, smiling, singing and dancing. Vanessa and Taylor helped to distribute food and seemed to have a great time laughing and connecting with the women. They also had a women’s meeting that afternoon with Esther and about 25 women. They shared on forgiveness and prayed for those women who wanted to help in that area. I asked Esther how it went and she said, “Great. They are so good (Taylor and Vanessa),” so I know it went well. Taylor, Vanessa, and Esther will meet again with the women tomorrow.
On Friday we went to visit Sha’ at the I Can Fly campus. It’s always such a joy to be with her. I know the girls loved hearing her testimony of faith. After visiting the school, we took Sha’ to dinner at the restaurant in Machakos People’s Park. The park is a recent addition to Machakos It has some attractions that are new to the area. One of those attractions is a zip line. They have built 3 towers with 2 ziplines attached. For $5 a piece, we decided to take a different step of faith and go zip-lining in Africa. I’m pretty sure there are no security standards or inspections, but everything worked and we had a blast. We even talked Sha’ into doing it with us.
Sunday we all went to the church in Machakos. Bo shared from Daniel 1, and then Vanessa and Taylor spoke. Vanessa had a great word about the simplicity of following Jesus and even sang a song over the people. It was amazing. Taylor shared a word the Lord had given her prior to the trip regarding blood crying out from the ground here in Machakos and in Kenya. Her word was so well received and the people responded in a time of repentance and prayer for their land. The messages and the response were so great that I didn’t feel the need to say much at all. So we finished the meeting and then had some time to meet with the youth group in the church.
The rest of our time here has consisted of conversations with O and E, and time with Isabel and the children. I am amazed to see the transformation in Isabel and the children. I’ll share more specifically on that in the next update.
Thanks for praying!
Today I had probably the most encouraging and productive meeting I have ever had in Kenya. I met Emily, who is 2nd in charge of the Department of Children’s Ministry in Machakos. Emily is one of the most impressive combinations and competence and compassion that I have ever met. She loves the Lord and truly loves the children of Kenya with the love of Christ, which allows her to do her job with great integrity and skill. Emily is a new transfer to Machakos from Nairobi. A few months back she came to visit Esther’s home to inspect. We now know that following poor advice from various government officials over the last few years has added up to a number of issues that need to be corrected. When it comes to documentation, legal paperwork etc, there is even more red tape here in Kenya than the US. Emily could have really thrown the book at Esther and devastated the program. Instead, Esther found favor with her and she saw Esther’s heart and saw the excellence with which the children were being cared for. She even snuck into a food distribution with the grandmothers and was amazed at the job Esther has done there. So instead of threatening to shut us down, she is actually going to help with the process of establishing a CCI (Charitable Children’s Institution). Not only will this protect the legitimacy of the program, but it will also open doors to receive government funding, grants, etc and to establish a legal entity to operate on the land.
I received the list of every requirement and all of the necessary steps to receive a CCI. You must have a minimum of 20 children for a CCI, so one can imagine the list of requirements for staff, resources, housing etc is extensive. But we now have a clear vision to work towards. While most organizations would have to get everything perfect first, Emily is actually encouraging us to take our time and just make consistent progress. She has even suggested constructing new temporary structures at O and E’s current home in order to establish a CCI there first.
In fact, she trusts Esther so much that she was the one who asked her to take in the new boy, Brian. Emily said that has found Machakos to be an area with one of the worst issues of orphans in the country. And at this point she is more interested in saving the kids than doing things by the letter of the law. In short, Emily is an answer to prayer. This process has also caused Esther to find a clearer vision and focus for the future. I’ll share more about that as we talk and as trip progresses.
Yesterday Bo and I traveled with O to visit a fellowship in Nairobi. Although it was not in the bush, it was a hidden place. We turned off the main highway that goes into the city and started winding our way through alley ways. The neighborhood was very poor and the streets were filed with mud, trash, and a few skinny cattle picking through the trash to find food. Many of the residents there are trying to transition from the slums and find work. The leader of this fellowship, Abednego, met Onesmus through a divine connection. He had previously worked as a successful expert in the oil industry before the Lord told him, “I need all of your time and My people need you.” There were about 35 people in the fellowship today and it was one of the stronger fellowships we have visited. It was so encouraging to see a mature group who are hungry to receive the Word of God.
Bo shared on love and I shared on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. We prayed for the people and saw the Lord move powerfully with repentance and the power and fire of the Holy Spirit. Onesmus carries this fire constantly, so it makes our job easy to turn this part over to and allow him to bring the power of God.
I’m leaving soon to pick up Vanessa and Taylor from the airport. I’ll update again once back in Machakos. Thanks for praying!
Click link below to see some of the kids dancing at the church service. They were pretty great.
Bo and I arrived safely in Machakos late Thursday night. We spent the last 2 days talking and praying with O and E. It has been some of the best time of discussion and prayer that I can remember. The Lord is really giving clearer vision and wisdom as to how to approach that vision. One of the challenges here is knowing the difference between what your local government worker tells you or allows and what the law really requires. If you rely on your local government worker’s advice, it may not protect you in the future. We have run into that problem again. Esther has had to work the last 4 months to fulfill all of the required reporting for every child in the program, both those with the grandmothers and those in her home. This has been a huge challenge, but it has also forced the ministry to set things in order and have a clearer perspective of the work. We have also run into trouble in housing for all of the children according to regulations. They have had to keep the twin girls in a different home until in compliance. We are looking to add on additional temporary housing by next week in order to keep all of the children here.
Esther has found favor with a Emily, a new Ministry of Children manager, who is enforcing the law correctly but also showing grace to help us set things in order. It will pay huge benefits for the future and allow for growth. Emily really cares for the children. She sees Esther’s heart and realizes she is someone worth investing in. In fact, the rescue center asked Esther to take in another child. Upon hearing the boy’s story, it is hard to blame Esther for saying yes. So now there will be 8 at their home. I hope to meet with Emily next week so that we can have a clear plan for the children’s program.
Tomorrow Bo and I will travel with Onesmus to visit a new fellowship in one of the poorer neighborhoods in Nairobi. Monday we hope to handle some different business chores here in Machakos and then make our way to Nairobi to pick up the girls. One of the girls, Kathryn, will not make this trip. She lives in Houston. Thankfully, she is safe. But the Lord has spoken to her that it is best and wise for her to stay back and hopefully come on a future trip. We are looking forward to Vanessa and Taylor’s arrival in Kenya and for everything the Lord will do in their time here.
Thanks for praying!
On August 30 Bo and I are set to fly out of Orlando to Nairobi. We will head to Machakos and have 4 days there to meet with Onesmus and Esther. There are a number of things that Bo and I will need to discuss with O and E regarding the future. I would ask for prayer for the Lord to give us wisdom in our time and discussions together regarding land, the children’s program, finances, and the future.
On September 4 we have 3 young women, Kathryn, Taylor, and Vanessa, who will be arriving in Nairobi to join us. We will meet them and stay the night in Nairobi before traveling to Machakos the next day. On our last visit, Onesmus requested multiple times that we bring women to minister to the women here in Machakos. Anyone who has been here knows that the African women often lead very difficult lives and often live under tremendous emotional and physical abuse. And they are normally responsible for so much that they really do not have time to consider their own wholeness and well being. After returning from our trip, the Lord connected us with these 3 women who each had a burden to come to Kenya.
Onesmus has arranged for 3 days to invite the women in Machakos to come and receive ministry and fellowship together. He is also planning a crusade in Machakos while we are there. This will be there first time that we have been a part of a crusade, so we are excited to see O in his element. We also plan to visit a few fellowships and take some time to walk the hills with Esther and visit more families in the program. And I expect we will meet with some of the grandmothers who have shown initiative to take steps toward growing food, starting businesses, etc.
I know the girls who are coming with us are also excited to spend time with Esther, Isabel, and the 7 children they have taken in. While we would never want to show favoritism, because they are all in one place and not spread out like the others, we do have a special opportunity to invest in these 7 kids. I believe it is an opportunity to see the Lord demonstrate His heart and His power to transform a life and use children like this to do His greatest works. So we want to invest as much as we can into the lives of these kids and see them healed of past trauma, trained up in the Lord, and encouraged to pursue the gifts God has given them.
Thank you for your prayers. I’ll send out updates while we are over there, as much as our wifi connection permits.
A word from Gezzele Martin:
Although we have spoken about this in the past, I felt it best to put into writing the ministry God had me do in Kenya in November as well as what He has called and commissioned me to do in the future in Africa.
The Lord has given me a series of 10 teachings that have been effectively used by the Lord to bring many to Christ and deepen the walk and commitment of those already in Christ. These teachings equip the Disciples of Christ to be ready to answer for the hope they have using the Word of God. It appears the Lord is bringing these teachings to Africa.
As you know, the Lord sent me to Kenya to teach and equip the pastors and leaders of the fellowships under the oversight of Onesmus. Many leaders came to Machakos from around Kenya (O. said approx. 150) and for 3 days I was able to teach them the foundational truths of life in Christ including: the importance of following the Word of God, what it means to follow Christ, the process of converting from the kingdom darkness to the Kingdom of Light and the purpose of the church and church leadership. On another occasion, when I met with the women, I taught on the Proverbs 31 woman and God’s Order for every household. It appears those teachings were well received and many spoke of a desire for more. In addition, the Lord used me to demonstrate worship in the “rest” of the Lord; something they have not been accustomed to but are learning to receive. As part of the teaching I do there, I worship in song and in dance. I was also able to leave written teaching materials/tools for a few leaders and handmade bookmarks for 300 attendees.
But most importantly, the Tuesday after I arrived in Kenya, the Lord woke me at 1:30am and had me in prayer for Kenya for 7 hours. During that time of prayer, there was much crying out and weeping for Kenya. The Lord impressed on my heart His love for Kenya and the Kenyan people.
He began to speak to me about the spiritual condition of His people in Kenya. He said “My people perish for lack of knowledge” and led me to Deut 11:13-28. He said Africa has great faith; faith that supersedes the faith in the western world. (The lack of great faith in the western world is simply due to how much we have and how easily we can obtain it. Even the poor in our country have more and have access to more than what I have seen in Africa. And so, great faith is required simply to survive there. How much we take for granted in the western world!)
As you are aware, Onesmus is highly effective for the Lord in inspiring the great faith that heals, delivers and demonstrates the Spirit’s power in amazing ways. This demonstration of the Spirit’s power is absolutely essential to the work of Jesus on this earth. The Lord is saying that after the healings and deliverances, they walk away free of demonic influence but still in bondage to sin, simply because they do not know what sin is and therefore, do not have the ability to truly repent. He said the people are not able to advance (mature) in the Lord due to their sin. (Matt 12:38-45). He said they do not know His requirement to say “no” to ungodliness (Titus 2:11-15) and live holy lives (I Pet 1:13-15). This work of teaching is also necessary to the work of Jesus on this earth. He says it is time to set the people free from sin as well as demonic influences. Both preaching and teaching are necessary.
In this time of prayer, the Lord told me the “New thing” He wants to do in Kenya is to see the African fellowships sustain themselves both physically and spiritually. Once the people begin to walk in true repentance, God will release His favor upon them. Our Lord is and will always be true to His word but we must also be true to our word in His New Covenant agreement. He said He is sending an African American woman to inspire and encourage the African people to live as Disciples of Christ.
So, on the last Sunday I was there, the Lord had me teach on the acts of the sinful nature in Gal 5. It was truly eye opening for them… I could see the shocked looks on their faces! The 2 sins the Lord had me focus on was sexual immorality and witchcraft (thru horoscopes, psychics, astrological signs etc.). Thru the teachings, He explained the need to come out of darkness and walk in the light as He is in the light (I John 1:5-10)
This being said, I believe I am called to bring this message of the Kingdom of God to Kenya and it appears Kenya is also ready and desiring this. I have been praying about this for several months and I feel it is time to go back to Kenya. Onesmus and I have been talking about this and we think it would be good for me to go 2 times a year, in November to teach at the conference Onesmus puts on for ministry leaders and in June to travel to outlying areas/small fellowships associated with Onesmus’ ministry to teach the people as well as the leaders who are unable to attend the November conference. Onesmus and I agree I should return to Kenya this November. I am also in the process of securing Swahili bibles to either have shipped there or for me to take there in November. It is my hope our ministry will be able to send teams to Africa in the future to minister the teachings of the Lord.
The purpose of these trips are not just one sided. I too will be building my faith in healing and deliverance…something so desperately needed in the US. I am in the process of developing a healing/deliverance team here and the training I would be receiving there is invaluable. I firmly believe the demonstration of the Spirit’s power must grow in the western world in order for us to be whole in Christ.
As this is a brief synopsis of the work the Lord is calling me to in Kenya, anyone with specific questions/concerns can contact me at the info below. Should the Lord open the door for me to go to Kenya in November, I will send updates on the work He is doing there thru this ministry.
Thank you for the support you have provided and are still encouraging me with through our conversations about the plan of God for Africa and through your prayers!
The blessings of heaven to you!
Tent of Meeting Ministries, Inc.
P.O. Box 86613
Tucson, AZ 85713-6613
Patricia (above) is HIV positive, as is her husband. He is too weak and sickly to work, so she is left to try to care for the children and provide for the home. Sadly, they have already lost 2 children to HIV. Years ago their daughter, Sarah, passed away at a young age. She was one of the first children in the program. I still remember seeing the little mound of dirt on the property where they buried her.
They currently have 6 children, none of which are HIV positive. Her son, Elijah, was also one of the first kids in the program. He is now 16 years old and healthy. Her two youngest (pictured below) are Nehemiah, who is 3 years old, and Moses, who is 2 years old. Despite the trials, Patricia is full of life and joy. When we come to visit, she usually joins us for the rest of the walk to the other children’s homes. She is always so grateful for the visit and tries to get us to spend the whole afternoon in her home.
Their prayer is for health and strength, especially for Patricia and her husband. Like many Kenyans, they are also praying for consistent rain that would allow them to grow food on their small plot of land.